The Green Bay Packers and Las Vegas Raiders are set to face off on Monday Night Football for their Week Five matchup. For the Packers, the game will come 11 days after an embarrassing loss at home to the Detroit Lions. While Green Bay did not play well in any facet of the game that night, it is noteworthy that they were down several starters with others on a snap-limit due to coming back from injury.
The 11-day period between games has given the Packers the opportunity to field their most healthy team since Week One. Unfortunately, their starting offensive line will not feature David Bakhtiari for the remainder of the season (if ever again) due to a fifth surgery on his knee.
However, most of the news that has come out of the Packers’ locker room on the injury front has been extremely positive. For instance, on Friday, the Packers got two key starters back on the practice field who had missed practice all week due to injuries they suffered in the Lions’ game.
The Green Bay Packers Get Jon Runyan Jr. and Rudy Ford Back on the Practice Field
The Packers already were on pace to get several of their injured stars back on the field at full health against the Raiders. Players such as Christian Watson, Aaron Jones, Jaire Alexander, Elgton Jenkins, and Luke Musgrave, who either missed all of or part of the loss to the Lions, are all projected to play on Monday Night.
However, two other players popped up on the injury report following Week Four and had not been able to practice: right guard Jon Runyan Jr. and starting safety Rudy Ford. Runyan is dealing with a groin and ankle injury while Ford has an oblique injury.
According to the injury report that the Packers posted on their website, both players returned to practice on Friday (in a limited fashion).
The Green Bay Packers Need Jon Runyan Jr. to Play
While Jenkins may still be a game-time decision as he works his way back from a sprained MCL, if there was one thing made clear in the loss to Detroit, it is that Royce Newman is a liability on the offensive line and a danger to the health of Jordan Love.
If Jenkins is able to play, Runyan will go back to the bench. However, had Runyan not been able to play, Newman would likely get another start, this time at right guard.
Worst case scenario: Runyan and Jenkins both cannot play and Newman starts at guard along with Sean Rhyan.
The fact of the matter is that Runyan is not having a good season either. His PFF grades are well-below what one would want out of their starting right guard:
- Offensive grade: 54.0
- Run blocking grade: 46.9
- Pass blocking grade: 63.1
However, they are a lot better than Newman’s grades:
- Offensive grade: 46.1
- Run blocking grade: 45.9
- Pass blocking grade: 53.0
The Green Bay Packers Need Rudy Ford to Stabilize the Pass Defense
For all the talk before the season that safety was going to be a major weakness on the Green Bay defense, Ford and Darnell Savage have ensured that it is not. For his part, Ford is one of the hardest safeties to target in coverage. Opposing quarterbacks have a miniscule 28.3 passer rating when throwing his way. Their completion percentage is just 35.7%.
Among Packers defenders, Ford has the sixth highest overall defensive grade on PFF (70.2). The only defensive back with a higher grade is Rasul Douglas (74.9).
As for Savage, while he is not having as good of a year in pass defense as Ford is, he is the superior run defender. In fact, PFF grades Savage as the third-best run defender on the team (71.4). Only De’Vondre Campbell (74.9) and Preston Smith (73.9) have higher run defense grades.